Despite the euphoria caused by the proliferation of plant based dietary options in shops and restaurants, the statistics don’t bear out the wishful thinking about veganism taking over the world any time soon. In fact, given the accelerating climate catastrophe with the terrifying extreme weather events in every paper and news bulletin, the numbers make me seriously doubt the number of humans taking our mortal peril as a species seriously.
In the most recent statistics, the total number of land-based individuals whose lives are hacked from their terrified throats in slaughterhouses across the globe has leapt from 74.9 billion to 77 billion – an increase of almost 2.2 billion in a single year. Even allowing for a 0.1 billion increase in the global human population (7.7 – 7.8 billion), this is a disaster for our victims and ought to be a sobering bucket of cold water for every company and organisation sounding fanfares of ‘victory’ and raising funds on the back of imaginary reductions in slaughter numbers.
Meanwhile, whatever the feel-good publicity says, our species is creating more victims than ever. Examining the statistics, one stark fact is unavoidable. The entire obscene increase is being borne by chickens. At 66.5 billion the previous year, now almost 69 billion of these defenceless creatures are facing the desperate existence we inflict on them for our dietary indulgence and a death that we can’t even bear to contemplate. Add in other birds such as ducks, turkeys, geese, guinea fowl etc and the number is 73.2 billion.
I appreciate spreadsheets may not appeal to many and I intend to write further on this topic but I’m including the raw figures from FAOSTAT here for any who are interested.
The immediate message, however, is crystal clear. We have to stop this. Really stop it. Not just talk about it, not allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of false optimism by wishful thinkers and those who want our cash because they keep trumpeting about ‘victories’. The statistics don’t lie. *
The only true victory for our defenceless victims, is a new vegan. We must take responsibility as individuals and knuckle down to what needs to be done for the sake of our victims and the planet we share with them. If we’re already vegan, we need to work harder, advocate harder, be more creative but above all, be honest. It’s urgent.
*NB The numbers above, which average at 2,443 individuals per second(!), do not include numerous other groups including:
- Marine creatures – estimated deaths 2.7 trillion annually. Because ‘catch’ is counted in tonnage that disregards ‘bycatch’ I don’t know of a source of reliable statistics that details the actual number of individuals who die for our dietary indulgence;
- Male chicks killed by the egg industry – currently estimated at 7.4 to 8 billion annually;
- Bees in the honey industry;
- Silk worms;
- Frogs, snails and other amphibians;
- Insects such as crickets executed for ‘novelty’ and ‘alternative protein’ markets;
- Dogs, cats and other species slaughtered in ‘backyards’ or slaughterhouses not contributing to FAOSTAT;
- Wildlife dying from loss of habitat and climate change caused by farming other species;
- Laboratory test subjects;
And that list is attributable mainly to the market for consumption. Numbers skyrocket once we add in those whom we victimise for other reasons, such as:
- Individuals slaughtered for their fur, fleece or skin;
- Trophy hunting;
- ‘Culling’ of indiginous creatures so the ‘farmed’ animal profits may be maximised;
- Deaths in the ‘entertainment’ industry;
- Deaths of individuals incarcerated in various establishments such as zoos, safari and water parks etc.
As noted above, all statistics are derived from FAOSTAT http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QL